One on one with Desmond Scott

One of the biggest changes to the Blue Devils' offensive attack was the position change of senior Desmond Scott. Having already topped the 1,000 career rushing mark, Scott will now make his season debut lining up at wide receiver. He spoke about this and more with TDD this week.

TDD: How has the transition from running back to receiver gone?

Desmond Scott: It's actually been pretty smooth. I'm having a lot of fun and just taking it all in with this being my final season.

What prompted the move?

Coach said he needed me to be on the field and we want to get as many athletes on the field as possible. Wherever he asks me to play, I'll play and he felt like this change would make me more dangerous as well as the team.

What do you miss about the running back position?

I mainly miss hanging out with the guys in the film room. I've been a running back first all my life, but this move will allow me to still get the ball and to best help my team. Like I said, I'll do anything the team needs or asks.

Does that mean you'll also factor into the return game?

Most definitely.

You mentioned you were having fun and taking it all in. What does that mean?

Well, when you're a younger guy you tend to take things for granted. You may not fully embraced the situations as they come, because there's always another day. But, by the time you're a senior, you come to realize that these days with your teammates and coaches aren't going to come around again. That realization really makes you think about each and every opportunity, because it's your last time around.

You've mentioned the highs of the position switch, but what about the challenges?

Well there have been some tough adjustments. I'm having to learn several new responsibilities and having to catch up on the little things that most receivers know. I'm learning about the precision in route running, how to read the defense on the fly, and about footwork. I played some WR at times in high school, but at this level there's a lot more to it than just running a route and being done. I'm lucky in that I've got the older guys to help me out, and our quarterbacks, Sean Renfree and Anthony Boone have been really great to work with.

They are two different players though, aren't they? Is it hard to learn a new position with two different quarterbacks?

Not really. There isn't a ton of difference between Sean and Anthony. I mean they are both right handed and they both deliver the ball very sharply. Boone may roll out a little more than Sean at times, but on the whole it's a pretty consistent delivery no matter who is under center.

In the past you guys haven't started the season well. With that in mind, what's the general mindset against FIU?

The Opening game is very, very critical to our season. It gets the ball rolling and provides us a chance to really get excited. It also lets our fans get excited, and that motivates us as well. We have to come out and finish every play and build some momentum going into week two. If we come out and execute, it gives us momentum heading into the next week of practice because there's not a lot to fix in the interim.

The talk of the post-season is always something you hear as a goal when the seasons start. Certainly there's been progress made, but what has kept Duke from that goal over the last few years?

Finishing. We have to learn how to finish games. That's our team slogan this year: Finish. We have to finish every drill, every practice, every down, and every game. In the past we have made some mistakes that have cost us a new set of downs, or defensively we didn't get a stop. All that adds up and when you're in close games like we have been, it's the difference between winning and losing.

You've been involved with Duke for more than four years now, going back to your recruitment. What's the biggest change you've noticed during that time?

It's definitely the mindset of the players. As a group we know we can go out and compete with the best the country has. That confidence is noticeable, and the coaches know it. That's why they are so much more demanding towards us. They are more positive we can handle it and perform.

Looking towards the future, what can you tell us about the younger players?

Coach Cutcliffe is bringing in a lot of talented athletes. More than the program has ever seen. Both of our young backs, Jela Duncan and Shaquille Powell look really, really good in preseason. Both have the ability to come in and play at a very high level at any moment this season. They still have to learn the offense and the blocking scheme, but those two guys are going to be really great for us.

We all know about Conner Vernon, but who else should fans keep an eye on at receiver?

It's got to be Jameson Crowder. He's a smaller guy, but he's tremendously athletic. He can jump, catch, and run as well as any receiver I've seen. Number three is going to be a weapon for us.

Last question, what are your opinions of the new uniforms? Do you have a favorite combination?

They are great. It's another change Coach Cutcliffe has made that I really love. At the same time, it's not how good the uniform looks, it's how good the player inside the uniform makes it look. We have to execute…it doesn't matter what we're wearing. I do like the black helmets though. I'd love to do a black-out with the black uniforms and helmet.

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